When someone decides it is time to sell their home, they interview several Realtors from different companies to determine which one is best for them. They want someone who will represent them and someone they feel will do an effective job at marketing their home.
However, when someone decides to buy a home, they usually end up with their Realtor through sheer accident. Why don't home buyers search for a Realtor the same way that home sellers do?
Instead, home buyers usually end up with a Realtor as a result of answering an advertisement. The advertisement will give a brief summary of a home available for sale along with the price, but it says nothing at all about the Realtor.
So does it really make a difference?
You see, there are two "sides" to every sale. The listing side and the selling side. Most deals have an agent representing each side, so there are generally two agents involved The seller's side is represented by the listing agent. The buyer's side is represented by the selling agent (also known as the buyer's agent).
Agents can deal with both buyers and sellers, but the majority tend to focus their efforts on one or the other. Some even exclusively handle either buyers or sellers.
So what should you do?
We simply recommend that you take as much care to hire a real estate agent as you would for any other professional. Ask questions. Ask about education, experience, and focus.
After all, buying your next house is probably the biggest purchase you've ever made in your life. Does it make more sense to find your agent by accident...or by design?
When a lender reviews your loan package for approval, one of the things they are concerned about is the source of funds for your down payment and closing costs. Most likely, you will be asked to provide statements for the last two or three months on any of your liquid assets. This includes checking accounts, savings accounts, money market funds, certificates of deposit, stock statements, mutual funds, and even your company 401K and retirement accounts.
If you have been moving money between accounts during that time, there may be large deposits and withdrawals in some of them.
The mortgage underwriter (the person who actually approves your loan) will probably require a complete paper trail of all the withdrawals and deposits. You may be required to produce cancelled checks, deposit receipts, and other seemingly inconsequential data, which could get quite tedious.
Perhaps you become exasperated at your lender, but they are only doing their job correctly. To ensure quality control and eliminate potential fraud, it is a requirement on most loans to completely document the source of all funds. Moving your money around, even if you are consolidating your funds to make it "easier," could make it more difficult for the lender to properly document.
So leave your money where it is until you talk to a loan officer.
Oh…don’t change banks, either.
As a fairly general rule, homes appreciate about four or five percent a year. Some years will be more, some less. The figure will vary from neighborhood to neighborhood, and region to region.
Five percent may not seem like that much at first. Stocks (at times) appreciate much more, and you could easily earn over the same return with a very safe investment in treasury bills or bonds.
But take a second look…
Presumably, if you bought a $200,000 house, you did not pay cash for the home. You got a mortgage, too. Suppose you put as much as twenty percent down – that would be an investment of $40,000.
At an appreciation rate of 5% annually, a $200,000 home would increase in value $10,000 during the first year. That means you earned $10,000 with an investment of $40,000. Your annual "return on investment" would be a whopping twenty-five percent.
Of course, you are making mortgage payments and paying property taxes, along with a couple of other costs. However, since the interest on your mortgage and your property taxes are both tax deductible, the government is essentially subsidizing your home purchase.
Your rate of return when buying a home is higher than most any other investment you could make.